Plant Diversity ›› 2019, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (01): 26-32.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2019.01.004

• Articles • Previous Articles    

Distributional responses to climate change for alpine species of Cyananthus and Primula endemic to the Himalaya-Hengduan Mountains

Xie Hea,b,d, Kevin S. Burgessc, Lian-Ming Gaob, De-Zhu Lia,b,d   

  1. a Germplasm Bank of Wild Species, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan, 650201, China;
    b CAS Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan, 650201, China;
    c Department of Biology, College of Letters & Sciences, Columbus State University, University System of Georgia, Columbus, GA, 31907-5645, USA;
    d Kunming College of Life Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan, 650201, China
  • Received:2018-11-23 Revised:2019-01-25 Online:2019-02-25 Published:2019-03-15
  • Contact: Lian-Ming Gao, De-Zhu Li
  • Supported by:
    This study was funded by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDB31010000), the National Key Basic Research Program of China (2014CB954100), and the Program of Science and Technology Talents Training of Yunnan Province (2017HA014). We appreciate the Chinese Virtual Herbarium for providing specimen data of Cyananthus and Primula species.

Abstract: Global warming increases the vulnerability of plants, especially alpine herbaceous species, to local extinction. In this study, we collected species distribution information from herbarium specimens for ten selected Cyananthus and Primula alpine species endemic to the Himalaya-Hengduan Mountains (HHM). Combined with climate data from WorldClim, we used Maximum Entropy Modeling (MaxEnt) to project distributional changes from the current time period to 2070. Our predictions indicate that, under a wide range of climate change scenarios, the distributions of all species will shift upward in elevation and northward in latitude; furthermore, under these scenarios, species will expand the size of their range. For the majority of the species in this study, habitats are available to mitigate upward and northward shifts that are projected to be induced by changing climate. If current climate projections, however, increase in magnitude or continue to increase past our projection dates, suitable habitat for future occupation by alpine species will be limited as we predict range contraction or less range expansion for some of the species under more intensified climate scenarios. Our study not only underscores the value of herbarium source information for future climate model projections but also suggests that future studies on the effects of climate change on alpine species should include additional biotic and abiotic factors to provide greater resolution of the local dynamics associated with species persistence under a warming climate.

Key words: Global warming, MaxEnt, Range expansion, Alpine species, Himalaya-Hengduan Mountains